Godzilla artist reveals why he quit art school

From art school drop-out to muti-award winning sci-fi artist, Bob Eggleton explains how his against-the-grain approach to illustration has led him to build a successful career.

What do you think people's first impression is of you?

Some see me as just the Godzilla Guy. Others view me as an overgrown hippie. I see myself as an outsider. I don't go along with a lot of the trends in illustration. 
I just paint what I can have fun with.

Who are the artists that inspire you?

It's a toss-up between JMW Turner, John Martin or Gustave Doré. They did fantasy art before it was called that. That's not to say I don't admire great artists now, but my first inspirations are those guys.

Do you have a painting ritual?

I start everything differently. Art is always evolving, and experimentation needs to be encouraged just to keep it from becoming bland.

dragon bob eggleton

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What did it feel like when you first saw your art published in a book?

It was pretty cool. I approached Paper Tiger in 1994 or 95. I'd won a Hugo and figured this was the time. It was all quite easy. I did several books with Paper Tiger, and they sold really well. And the best royalty out of my first book was that 
I met my wife. She bought the book Alien Horizons in Australia and wrote to me. Next thing I knew, I was jetting down to see her and well, here we are!

How did you feel when you first won the Hugo Award in 1994 for best artist (and then a further seven times!)?

I didn't expect to win. Then I got this frantic call late from a friend screaming, "You won!" So I flew there on short notice to pick it up the next day. These days it's all different, but back then they used mail and paper ballots. The work was seen on covers in bookstores and such. There were no internet sites. Now, people actually campaign for the award.

When did you first realise that you wanted to be an artist?

When I was four. My dad showed me how to draw pictures, perspective and things like that. Between ages six and eight I devoured those Walter Foster 'How to draw' books. I drew a lot in school and collected comics, and I knew then I wanted to do art for a living. I went to an art school for 18 months and it was a fiasco. The focus was on 1970s modern art and when you mentioned names like Frazetta you were laughed at.

Next page: Bob Eggleton on his first artistic crush...

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